Social Media Case Study – Pro FC Football
Pro FC Football Trials was formed by former professional footballer and manager Martin Allen in October 2010. The premise behind the project is ‘The X-Factor For Football’ – discovering new talent and offering players a five-day training course with some of the top managers in the game, at the end of which two are chosen for a full trial with a Premiership Club.
The Commercial Need
At the start, Pro FC needed to find a way to publicise the project nationwide but working with a small marketing budget. They built a very smart-looking website and managed to attract some high-level ambassadors such as Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch. Martin is a well-known football pundit and appeared publicising the project on a number of radio shows.
However when publicising the project Martin was only able to give out a website address on-air, and although hits on the website were relatively good, the initial take-up wasn’t. A Facebook ‘friend’ account had been set-up hastily and incorrectly, giving off the wrong message, and although a Twitter account was set up, there was no understanding of how to attract followers, or of what to Tweet.
So how did The Bright Click help?
Firstly we set up a professional Facebook ‘Business’ Page and created banners and images in line with the branding on the Pro FC website. We then set about messaging all of those who had joined the ‘friend’ page, asking them to come over to the ‘Business’ page, saying that when we got to 300 fans on this page, one would win a VIP day out with Martin at West Ham United v Arsenal. We created a vanity URL on Facebook which would help with SEO and also with the professional image of the company.
We then launched an incentive-driven campaign on Twitter, saying that we would give away a signed England shirt to one of our followers once we had reached 1000, and asking our followers to re-tweet this information. We also carefully followed other football fans on Twitter, notably from Martin’s former clubs and those clubs of our ambassadors , we had a follow-back rate of around 40% so this was a successful tactic in gaining followers quickly.
We Tweeted open questions about various football topics and encouraged the followers to let us know their thoughts. We created a blog for Martin Allen on WordPress and made this accessible purely through Facebook, even linking to Facebook from Twitter to link to the blog. This drove traffic to all of the Pro FC platforms and encouraged re-tweets and sharing of the links. We then started to incentivize the Twitter followers to also ‘like’ Pro FC on Facebook. We were focused on making sure that the majority of our followers were relevant to what we were trying to achieve – with a focus on quality rather than quantity.
At the official Pro FC launch in January 2011 we Tweeted live from the event and sent lots of tweets the next day linking to the various subsequent press coverage. We also created a viral video of Martin appealing for a trial at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground, which we placed on YouTube and subsequently linked to across all platforms. This was a huge viral hit and was picked up by The Sun newspaper and placed on their website too.
We were very careful to respond publicly to all questions on both Twitter and Facebook, creating an archive of information and engaging our follower and fans at all times. People realized that it was a professional organization by seeing timely responses to their questions, and even their criticisms, turning potential negative situations into positive PR.
A buzz was starting to build and by the second week of February all of the 90 places available on the camp, priced at £600 each, were sold, plus six ‘Assistant Manager’ positions at the same price. This was purely off the back of press coverage, media interviews, and a positive Social Media marketing campaign which at the time of writing (Sept 2012), had generated over 1200 Facebook fans and 1500 Twitter followers.